Thursday, April 23, 2009

Album Review: Extra Golden-Thank You Very Quickly

Extra Golden is a powerfully vivacious Kenyan-American ensemble that fuses Kenyan Benga and American rock. They are currently touring in support of their latest release, Thank You Very Quickly, an album composed in the wake of Kenya's post-election violence in 2008 and released March 19, 2008 on Thrill Jockey Records.

Singing in both English as well as Swahili and borrowing guitar riffs from everyone from Jerry Garcia to Djelimady Tounkara, Extra Golden has a unique sound. All six tracks on Thank You Very Quickly are rough and fierce. Using time signatures like 12/8 and employing a distorted, bluesy guitar style, Extra Golden breaks the mold of most African guitar bands. Unlike the clean sound of Congolese Soukous or more traditional Kenyan Benga, Extra Golden sounds dirty and rugged.

Extra Golden was born during 2004 when Ian Eagleson, Alex Minoff and Otieno Jagwasi began fiddling with each other’s compositions in an apartment in the Buru Buru neighborhood of Nairobi. Eagleson was completing Ethnomusicological field work in Kenya at the time, and what started as casual jam sessions have evolved into three albums and an international touring schedule.

Extra Golden go about their work with a few simple goals in mind: to write songs that tell stories of life, love and loss; to praise people and places that are dear to their hearts; and, most of all, to create a sound that people of different backgrounds and generations can enjoy.

If you like to rock regardless of where you're from, I highly recommend Extra Golden's third album, Thank You Very Quickly.

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